Mideast Nations Agree to Halt Slaughter of Australian Sheep

Just in time for the celebration of Eid-al-Adha,†Australia and three of its main sheep marketsóBahrain, Qatar and Kuwaitóhave come to an historic agreement. Sheep exported live to the Middle East will have to be killed in slaughter facilities that adhere to global animal welfare standards.

The agreement ends the practice of families buying sheep from holding pens, stuffing them into vehicle trunks and slaughtering them at home. Timing of the announcement is significant, coming just before the festival of sacrifice.

Eid-al-Adha commemorates Abraham’s obedience to Allah, who told him in a dream that he was to sacrifice his son, Ishmael. At the last minute,†God took pity on Abraham and substituted a lamb.†Centuries later, Muslims continue to commemorate Abraham’s act of obedience by slaughtering a sheep, goat or some other animal for Eid-al-Adha.†They give away a third of the meat to the poor. Another third they share with family and friends. The remaining third they keep for their own use.

Home slaughter is still common, though in Abu Dhabi it is no longer legal. Officials warn of the risk of parasites and disease. They say unlicensed butchers do not sterilize their knives and may slaughter animals on the ground, where the meat can become contaminated. Elsewhere the practice of home slaughter is gradually losing favor, though it is still traditional.

So arriving at an agreement was likely easier for Australia than it would have been a decade ago. Although officially the change does not take place until 2012, timing of the anouncement, just before Eid-al-Adha begins November 6th, emphasizes the cultural shift.

More Change Is Needed

The plan will shave some of the profits off livestock balance sheets, as breeders will have to pick up at least part of the cost of advertising, educating about and monitoring the changes. The live export industry already received a major economic hit earlier in the year when shipments were stopped after videotapes from Indonesian slaughterhouses showed workers brutally mistreating cattle.

The new plan addresses only some of the concerns of animal welfare advocates. There is still no requirement that animals be stunned before slaughter. Live animals will continue to endure the long ship passage from Australia, and the changes will not be easy to monitor. Animals Australia and the RSPCA give dozens of reasons to halt the shipments on their†Ban Live Export site.

Insisting that exporters and importers adhere to higher standards is a step in the right direction. However, ending the abuse of animals will require our becoming far more aware of and compassionate toward the lives of our fellow creatures.

Related Care2 Stories

Australia Resumes Cattle Shipments to Indonesian Slaughterhouses

Undercover Video of Abuse on Texas Cattle Ranch

Is Kosher Kinder


First photo from Joost J. Bakker IJmuiden via Flickr Creative Commons; second from eflon via Flickr Creative Commons


Yulan Lawson
Yulan Lawson5 years ago

Isaac Bashevis Singer Nobel Peace Prize Winner wrote in his book, 'Enemies a love story', "As often has Herman had witnessed the slaughter of animals and fish, he always had the same thought. In their behaviour toward creatures, all men were Nazi’s. The smugness with which man could do with other species as he pleased exemplify the most extreme racist theories the principle that might is right. Lest we forget!

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W5 years ago

Who on Earth banned Jane? Is Care2 a place of censorship? I'm shocked.

Linda Jarsky
Linda Jarsky5 years ago

If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. ---St. Francis of Assisi

Virginia G.

So agree with Carole M. Sick to death of people hiding behind their religions to do the most horrific things to animals. Maybe that's just what some people need - if some die from eating the beautiful creatures which they have treated so badly. Hallelujah- Great days!!!

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing this article

jackie w.
Jackie w6 years ago

Oh, no! Jane B. banned from Care2? Please come back. Bring it on Care2!!! We need people like her, people that don't pander to the wrong-doers.

Wendy Forster
Jane Parker6 years ago

I am sorry to hear Jane B is banned from the Care 2 sight. I agree with everything see said. She says it as it is. Sentiment will not help the animals. It is laughable how Muslims slit the throats of animals whilst praying to God!!!!

So is Care 2 going to ban me now?

Carola May
Carola May6 years ago

Jane B IS passionate about animal and human rights and might be a little too passionate for Care2 because she has been banned for her comments. Censorship seems to be alive and well at Care2. Such a shame. We'll miss her and hope she'll be back soon. When it comes to ideologies and groups that cause harm to others, including our fellow sentient beings, then there is no excuse for pandering to them. What they teach and do is wrong and offensive in a civilized world. Period. Go Jane!

Wendy Forster
Jane Parker6 years ago

Well said Jackie W. And I still love the passion from Jane B. We all have the right to defend ourselves.

Beryl F.
Beryl Furman6 years ago

To act lower than any other animal would even be able to is a strange way to praise allah.